As we consider the world of special education, the voices of school administrators – the people who help determine where district dollars go – are extremely valuable. Right now, sequestration threatens to cut millions of dollars in funding for special education. In San Francisco, that means a cut of roughly $3.8 million in federal funds starting this fall. That funding was previously used for child nutrition and early education programs – and it will now need to be found elsewhere in the district’s already tight budget.
Students at Montera Middle School in Oakland said the school's eighth-grade class was full of "drama" earlier this year. There had been a fight between two girls, and the conflict had broadened to the girls' friends. Some students "were coming to school in sweats, ready to fight," recalled Yari Ojeda-Sandel, a staffer at Montera who coordinates the school's new conflict-resolution program known as restorative justice.